Are you planning a music tour but unsure how to fund it? Southern African musicians who are currently based in South Africa are invited to apply for the latest round of Concerts SA’s Music Mobility Fund, which will select new projects to support in April.

Following the success of the 2014 and 2015 rounds of funding, applications are now open for the first iteration of Music Mobility Fund disbursements this year. The deadline for submissions is Sunday 3 April 2016, and tours should take place between late April 2016 and 30 October 2016.

This tour-funding mechanism offers opportunities for professional South African musicians to undertake live music tours in South Africa, as well as other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. The fund provides support to live music performances, collaborations and performance-based workshops.

Since it was initiated in 2013, the Music Mobility Fund has supported more than 70 tours and has featured artists like  Guy Buttery, Marcus Wyatt’s Language 12, Kyle Shepherd, Amandla Freedom Ensemble, Wendy Oldfield and Paul Hanmer, Ihashi Elimhlophe, Pops Mohamed and Dave Reynolds, Carlo Mombelli, Morayks and Thandi Ntuli. In addition to South Africa, these performances and projects have fanned out to Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, spanning genres from jazz and indigenous music to hip-hop and kwaito. 

The fund is not only open to South African musicians, but to anyone from a Southern African nation who is currently based in South Africa. For example, two Cape Town-based Mozambican percussionists, Frank Paco and John Hassan, have been supported to tour Mozambique, while Joburg-based Zimbabwean guitarist Maxwell Vidima was funded to tour Zimbabwe. 

According to legendary guitarist Steve Newman of Tananas: “The Concerts SA Music Mobility Fund has been a blessing to touring musicians like me, enabling the trio to play around the country. Touring can be expensive and the Mobility Fund has made this easier because they covered travel expenses, accommodation, food and hiring of extra sound gear. Others have been exposed to audiences along the coast including the Western Cape Garden Route and KZN. It is fairly easy to apply for Mobility Funding and once done, it becomes easier, especially for an independent artist not playing mainstream repertoire. I would encourage musicians wanting to tour to apply.”

Unlearning Ensemble leader Sibusile Xaba, who recently took part in a successful workshop in Maputo, Mozambique in partnership with Music Crossroads Mozambique, explained: “As independent artists, touring is important for various reasons. Firstly, it allowed us the opportunity to present our music in different countries, expanding the number of people who appreciate our music. Secondly, it is a great platform where independent artists are able to gain a chance in collaborating, sharing ideas, concepts, information and skills with fellow artists from different places, allowing one the opportunity to learn not only music, but humanity, culture, environment, agriculture, diversities, similarities, linguistics, history, justices and injustices, amongst many other elements which I believe contribute greatly in moulding the artist one is or becomes. Lastly, I feel it can help activate alternative spaces which can be used as ‘unconventional’ art spaces to either host art presentations, performances, exhibitions and even arts education.”

The fund is administered by Concerts SA, a joint South African/Norwegian project housed within the SAMRO Foundation. Working with musicians, promoters, venue owners and music sector stakeholders, the project aims to build a vibrant and viable live music circuit in southern Africa. It also seeks to develop an interest in and appreciation of live music by showcasing music performances and conducting workshops at schools. The fund provides support towards travel and transportation, as well as per diems, material costs (hiring of backline and sound equipment), accommodation and visas. Among the projects that may be financed are tours and concerts, including regional, national or provincial tours, as well as performances at festivals and showcases. The fund also funds artistic collaborations with merit among musicians based in different provinces of South Africa or SADC countries. Each project must be between four days and six months in duration.

National Projects: Artists from all provinces are invited to apply for national projects taking place in any South African provinces. The bulk of the activities must take place outside the province where the artist is based. The tour schedule must include one activity in either Gauteng, the Western Cape or KwaZulu-Natal. Applicants may request up to R25 000.

Regional Projects: Regional projects must take place in one or more of the following SADC countries: Angola, Botswana, D.R. Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Applicants will need to conduct their own research and have identified and communicated with a potential partner or host. The partner may be an individual or organization, must be an established musician or music professional, and must be based in the SADC country (or countries) where the project will take place. Applicants may request up to R40 000.


How to apply

Applicants should first read the Call for Proposals, then complete the application form (.doc or .pdf) in English and submit it by Sunday 3 April 2016, including the following mandatory documents: legal documentation of the applicant (ID/passport copies; company registration documents); track record (media coverage, website links, awards, public appearances, residencies, CV, biography, etc); project budget (including projected income and expenditure); and a tour schedule with a calendar of activities. SADC regional projects must include a letter from the local host confirming their support and involvement.

Enquiries and applications should be submitted by email to, by fax to 086 500 7028 or by post to Concerts SA, c/o The SAMRO Foundation, 20 De Korte Street, 4th Floor SAMRO Place, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, 2001.

For more information, visit the Mobility Fund website or the Concerts SA Facebook page.